I have been the only “white-boy” pastor in an all-African American church. I was born a gentile, but by faith I am also a son of Abraham. I am grandfather to my Hispanic grandchildren. I have a mixed-mutt Anglo-Swede-German-Celtic and who-knows-what-else of a heritage. I have brothers who are Asian and Native Americans. Our church is a beautiful melting pot of multi-ethnic souls. In the world, there are only two races of mankind. However they are not races based on skin color or ethnic origin. The two races of mankind are those who in God and those are not. If you are in Christ, we are of one blood and we share God as our Father. We are blood brothers in Jesus. We are family. We are one. Historically, there has always been hostility between peoples of different tribes, tongues, religions, and colors. In Israel, in the Temple, there was a low wall called a “soreg” beyond which no non-Hebrew could go on pain of death. Within the wall, closer to God’s Holy Presence, only the covenant people could go. This wall created hostility between Jews and non-Jews; it was an exclusion zone that created a second class of citizens. … Read more
For too long, we have preached a half gospel: the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of your soul, which has only to do with the spiritual. That is true enough, but Jesus also died to heal us of all our diseases and infirmities. His death on the cross was the atonement for our sins and broke the power of Satan over our souls and bodies
Why did Jesus have to be baptized by John? He said, “it is necessary to fulfill all righteousness…” What did Jesus mean by that?
Why are there no records of miracles by Jesus as a child?
What did it mean for Jesus to be fully human?
What does it mean when it says that Jesus “emptied himself… being born in human likeness”?
What I am about to say will frighten a lot of pastors who teach tithing to their congregations. Tithing is an old word meaning “giving one tenth.” The Law of Moses required that all Covenant people give ten percent of their income (their herds, grain, oil, etc.) to God (Lev. 27:32) in order to feed and house the priests and the Levites (teachers of the Law – Num. 18.21). Jesus spoke about tithing, saying in Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Considering that Jesus agreed with the tithe, many interpret the tithe as a Law carried over into the New Covenant, binding on all believers. But after the Gospels, tithing is only mentioned once in the rest of the New Testament in Hebrews (7:4), and that is in regard to the New Covenant in Christ being anticipated in the Law of Moses. In fact, Paul says plainly in Romans 10:4 “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Jesus … Read more
A Summary Doctrine of Sanctification (from the book: Pardoned or Paroled?) 1] God Alone is Righteous and God alone is Good: Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed, all who were incensed against him, (Isaiah 45:24, RSV). And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone,” (Luke 18:19, RSV). 2] We are not to look to ourselves for any good or righteousness, for none exists in us: For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh, (Romans 7:18, RSV). For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness, (Romans 10:3, RSV). Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God … Read more
I learned this from a Christian business woman who was approached by 2 men who were Christians with a business deal. Everything seemed right, but in the end the deal turned out to be a scam. She asked the Lord why she had not seen this coming, and the Lord taught her about testing the spirits. When someone approaches you with any matter, although it can be a ministry situation, ministry opportunity, business offer, sales offer, or anything, you can test the spirit motivating that person to see if it is originating in God. You speak to the spirit ( you can do this under your breath when people are around, or you can speak it out loud if you are considering this situation when alone), and say, " I command you to confess that Jesus Christ came by the water and the blood and that Jesus is the Son of God." If the spirit is not of God, you will sense resistance and a lack of peace. If it is just something like a human idea, you may not feel anything and it be neutral. But if the Spirit motivating this situation is the Lord, you will experience … Read more
‘What then does it mean to be a Presbyterian?’ Posted Monday, November 7, 2011 in the Presbyterian Layman What does it now mean to be a Presbyterian? Every country club, civic association or condominium, for that matter, has rules of organization, statements of principle and codes of conduct to which members must adhere. Every religion has tenets of faith by which members define themselves and their beliefs in contrast to the values of other religions, cultures, governments and groups. Reading through the new Form of Government (FOG), I have to ask, what makes anything about the new PCUSA distinctly Presbyterian? When I was in seminary, aside from a basic adherence to the great confessions of the church, a partiality to Calvinism was part of the distinctiveness of Presbyterianism, in contrast to the doctrines of the Methodists, Catholics and Lutherans. But I think the new FOG is foggy to say the least. Take this section for example: In Christ, by the power of the Spirit, God unites persons through baptism regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, disability, geography, or theological conviction. There is therefore no place in the life of the Church for discrimination against any person. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) … Read more